The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology paints a grim portrait of life as an Uber or Lyft driver. According to a new study titled “The Economics of Ride-Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses, and Taxes,” a motorist for the ride-sharing apps makes an average of $3.37 per hour—and that’s before taxes. At least 74 percent of employees earn below minimum wage in their respective states.

Researchers found that drivers for both companies have limited means to boost their wages, as workers tend to conduct their business in isolation and are less likely to compare labor conditions. Even if a driver wants to learn how much another is spending on his or her vehicle, they have no way of obtaining that information.

“Little comprehensive work has been done to establish population-level statistics on the profitability of ride-hail driving,” the authors of the report write. “Ride-hailing operators know what they pay each driver but do not know whether drivers earn additional wages from a competitor nor what drivers actually spend to operate their vehicles.” The researchers added, “An individual driver can precisely observe his or her own operational revenue and costs but does not know whether these are representative of other drivers or other vehicles.”

While Lyft is yet to acknowledge the study, an Uber spokesperson released a statement claiming “its methodology and findings are deeply flawed.” The spokesperson added, “We’ve reached out to the paper’s authors to share our concerns and suggest ways we might work together to refine their approach.”

This is not the first time Uber has come under fire. Most recently, the company announced the rollout of Uber Health, an app that allows patients and health care providers to bypass a profile requirement for secure rides to and from hospitals and medical centers. Legal experts have already sounded the alarm. The Verge reports that in 2016, the legal consulting firm Carlton Fields pointed to the possibility of data breaches and warned that ride-sharing companies like Uber “risk potential imposition of stiff penalties for data breaches, and business associate agreements should be implemented between providers and ridesharing companies.”

Perhaps the company should address the findings of MIT’s report before it “disrupts” the country’s transit infrastructure for health care.

 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and President Joe Biden during 2020 presidential debate

I look at September 2019 as a month where I missed something. We began with a trip to New York to do Seth Meyers’s and Dr. Oz’s shows. Why would we go on The Dr. Oz Show? For the same reason we had gone on Joe Rogan’s podcast in August: We could reach a vast audience that wasn’t paying attention to the standard political media. On Dr. Oz, Bernie could talk about Medicare for All and his own physical fitness. While at the time we believed Bernie was uncommonly healthy for his age, he was still 78. Questions would be raised related to his age, and we needed to begin building up the case that he was completely healthy and fit. It turned out to be a spectacular interview, ending with the two of them playing basketball on a makeshift court in the studio. Bernie appeared to be on top of the world.

Yet in retrospect, I should have seen Bernie growing more fatigued. After New York, with the school year starting, we did a series of rallies at colleges and universities in Iowa; this was the kickoff of our campus organizing program in the state. We would then fly to Colorado for a large rally in Denver before heading to Boulder to prep for the third debate, to take place in Houston on September 12. In Iowa, Bernie’s voice was a little hoarse. After the rally in Denver, he had completely blown it out. He sounded terrible.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. James Clyburn

When I interviewed House Majority Whip James Clyburn in 2014 about his memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, the South Carolina Democrat was confident in America’s ability to find its way, no matter how extreme the political swings might appear at any given time.

“The country from its inception is like the pendulum on a clock,” the congressman told me. “It goes back and forward. It tops out to the right and starts back to the left — it tops out to the left and starts back to the right.” And remember, he said, it “spends twice as much time in the center.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}